MEPS 233:199-205 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps233199

Ferritin and hemocyanin: 210Po molecular traps in marine fish, oyster and lobster

J. P. Durand1,*, F. Goudard1, C. Barbot1, J. Pieri1, S. W. Fowler2, O. Cotret2

1Université de Nantes, Faculté des Sciences et des Techniques, GERMETRAD, Laboratoire de Biochimie et Radiobiochimie, UPRES EA 2160, 2 rue de la Houssinière, BP 92208, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3, France
2International Atomic Energy Agency, Marine Environment Laboratory, 4 quai Antoine I er, BP 800, 98012 Monaco Cedex

ABSTRACT: The relative degree of binding of 210Po with fish, mollusc and crustacean ferritins was investigated. Comparison of 210Po concentrations in the purified ferritins from liver of the Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrus and from the visceral mass of oysters Crassostrea gigas confirmed the high affinity of polonium for these iron-containing proteins. The ferritin fraction in lobster Homarus gammarus hepatopancreas contained an order of magnitude more 210Po than pure ferritin from fish and oyster; however, the hepatopancreatic ferritin fraction was not pure and it also contained the respiratory protein hemocyanin. A high performance size-exclusion chromatography analysis further revealed the important contribution of hemocyanin to 210Po fixation in lobster. The combined 210Po binding capacity of ferritin and hemocyanin in lobster hepatopancreas most probably accounts for the very high 210Po concentrations found in the hepatopancreas of many higher crustaceans.

KEY WORDS: Polonium · Fish · Oyster · Lobster · Ferritin · Hemocyanin

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